soundproof ceiling

Best Way to Soundproof Ceiling & Methods To Reduce Noise

You will definitely want to soundproof your ceiling if you have noisy neighbors or family members upstairs bothering you when you are trying to get some sleep. It could be anything on the floor above you: dogs, cats, hyperactive kids, raccoons or some other critters.

It doesn’t really matter as noise is annoying regardless of its source.

Let’s face it, living with other people goes hand in hand with some noise. That’s inevitable and you will have to accept this fact or move out and go live in the woods. But most of us don’t have this option. It’s unlikely that you have nice and quiet neighbors either.

They will often hear more than you would like and you will probably hear the same from them too.

So, soundproofing your ceiling is an essential step if you are making a complete renovation or room soundproofing project in your home. The soundproof ceiling is a great way to reduce the two common types of noise: impact noise and airborne noise. 

Impact noise is a type of sound that passes through the structure itself, eventually reaching you in the form of nasty sounds like heavy footsteps or a chair dragging throughout the floor in the room above you.

On the other hand voices or music are a good example for airborne noise that spreads in waves across open areas inside the building.

How to Soundproof a Ceiling?

The soundproofing methods used on the ceiling are similar to those used on the walls, with the only difference being that the in-wall is more affected with airborne noise, while the ceiling is more susceptible to impact noise.

So, lets highlight the best methods for improve the soundproofing of an existing ceiling.

What Are the Methods to Soundproof your Ceiling?

1. Decoupling

When you decouple, you create a space between the beams or studs and the ceiling layers or other hard surfaces to divide these layers. The separation effectively disrupts the route of the sound wave vibration and this makes it one of the best options for noise insulation of your home.

2. Add Mass

Noise is basically vibrations that are created by sound waves. When you put a massive and thick  obstacle on the way of these sound waves, it becomes more difficult for noise to vibrate through. Ultimately, you’ll need quite a lot of material to make a difference and fully block the noise.

3. Sound Absorbing Foam Sheets

Although you may think your fluffy pillow may be able to silence a thunder, this isn’t really the case with  fiberglass insulation. When you squeeze a foam or feather pillow over your ears, it becomes denser. The denser the material , the better it absorbs noise; thick vinyl membranes, MDF (medium-density fiberboard), or even drywall perform better than ordinary fiberglass.

4. Damping

Damping is a technique used to prevent or reduce sound vibration in ceiling joists. Acoustic drywall, for example, absorbs and dampens sound waves and vibrations significantly more effectively than a standard gypsum drywall.

5. Fixing Holes and Gaps on the Ceiling

It’s unlikely that you will be staring on your ceiling or do a thorough checks for tiny gaps or holes, but it’s quite common for joints or areas where any electric cable connection is taking place, that some of these holes may provide a free way to air. If air can flow through, there is a great possibility that noise can also seep through.

So, what you’ll want to do is check for such gaps in the ceiling and try to repair them with acoustic caulk or green glue sealant.

soundproof ceiling

 

6. Add acoustic Insulation

Insulation is significantly easier to install in new buildings than it is in old buildings. Usuallu, ceiling drywall is attached directly to the beams and furring strips attached to the joists making it quite a sturdy and reliable insulation method. This is a great option if you are buying a new home or making full renovation.

7. Add Resilient Channels to Soundproof a Ceiling:

Metallic strips that are attached to your plasterboard are known as resilient channels. They are used to disconnect your ceiling panels from the joists by allowing just a tiny contact area with the ceiling joists and are usually insulated with rubber coating to reduce vibration transmission.

soundproof ceiling Resilient channels have many tiny holes (or channels) that cause vibrations to dissipate as they pass through the metal. Sound energy is subsequently wasted, so by the time the sound waves strike your ceiling, practically all of the power has been converted to heat, hardly allowing any noise to pass through.

You can attach them at even intervals over your ceiling joists, and then connect your plasterboard towards the resilient channel. It should work for preventing both impact noise and airborne noise.

8. Replace Plasterboard with Soundproof Ceiling Panels

soundproof ceiling

Increasing the thickness of your ceiling will most probably allow it to be more soundproof and decrease heat loss too. Soundproof ceiling panels are thick boards that often include a rubber layer in the center to prevent vibrations.

Soundproof acoustic panels are usually 1–1.5 inches thick, so keep in mind that they will take up some of your ceiling space, especially when combined with resilient channels. It’s best to attach these acoustic tiles to your resilient channels using screws to hold them safely in place.

Tip: Make sure that the panels are only attached to the channels and not to the ceiling joists. It will reduce the ceiling’s efficiency and will allow vibrations to flow through the ceiling, thus making the resilient channels useless.

soundproof ceiling

Add Acoustic Underlay to the Floor Above:

Rather than breaking down your ceiling to install new soundproof materials, you would likely prefer to make modest upgrades to the floor above(if you live in a house). If it’s not your house, talk to your neighbors about it.

In case you are able to work on the flooring upstairs, remove the old floor to reveal the subflooring layer below, then add soundproof insulation such as acoustic floor underlayment and acoustic mat to help dampen the sound coming from above. Replace the existing floor and, if possible, seal the edges. It is both cost-effective and extremely efficient.

soundproof ceiling

9. Use Mass-Loaded Vinyl:

Mass Loaded Vinyl or MLV  is a great option for soundproofing your ceiling. It can be used in place of Green Glue as a sound dampening treatment and would also make much less mess in your house. It’s usually made up of vinyl and barium sulfate which are very sturdy and energy efficient materials.

MLV is non-toxic and has a high relative density, making it perfectly good when it comes to in sound absorption. Mass-loaded vinyl is also suitable for use as a carpet underlayment, especially if you are making a house renovation or when you install new flooring. It’s robust and thick, and its main function is to prevent airborne noises.

soundproof ceiling A MLV sheet also provides additional cushioning to floors or ceilings. It would serve as moisture, heat and noise insulation and is quite effective in dampening excessive vibrations. The Green Glue compound, on the other hand, is far less expensive and similarly effective. Mass-loaded vinyl, commonly known as a vinyl barrier, can be used between drywalls or on the subfloor.

10. Acoustical Cotton Batts

This option does not require any outside changes to the ceiling, but it does need some work on the interior, which means you must either have an open ceiling, to begin with or just disassemble it before you start working. The use of such acoustical cotton batt inserts is then a viable alternative.

It’s very similar to fiberglass and mineral wool, but they all have distinctive characteristics. So, make sure you choose wisely on your soundproof material as it will likely stay for quite a while inside your ceiling. Dense and natural materials often absorb sound better than manufactured materials.

Benefits of Having a Soundproof Ceiling

Helps To Dampen Noise

One of the most notable advantages of installing a soundproof ceiling is that it effectively cancels the excess noise that inevitably enters our homes. When you are facing issues with irritating sounds the most common approach is to have at least one of the soundproofing options applied to your ceiling. You can use either acoustic ceiling tiles or mineral wool and when they are correctly installed you will eventually feel the difference and be happy you made the choice.

Soundproof insulation like noise canceling panels and acoustic tiles are highly effective in dampening noise but are also a great way to hide unsightly fittings, pipes, and cables that may be hanging from the original ceiling.

Adds A Nice Personal Touch To Your Room

Another advantage of having a soundproof ceiling aside from helping to prevent excessive noise is that it may significantly improve the decoration and the overall environment of your place.

It could improve the room‘s appearance if you choose a nice decoration and suitable color.

The only thing you should keep in mind while installing your preferred soundproofing material is that they be subject to regular maintenance and care. That way you’ll be able to have them improving the comfort of your home for much longer.

Best Choice for a Quick Room Renovation (if you use soundproof ceiling tiles)

When it comes to renovating your rooms, soundproof acoustic ceiling tiles are the best option since they not only make a great difference in the appearance of the room, but are also very simple to install.

However, it’s not recommended to try installing them by yourself. You should normally call a professional to do it for you.

How to Soundproof Basement Ceiling

A basement may be much more than just a storage area, it could be a home office, a bedroom, your home gym, a home theater,  craft area, or simply a place for you and your family to hang out.

However you decide to use your basement, there is no doubt you’ll appreciate the extra space that it provides, but there is just one problem you could face: noise. Then you will have to find a way to deal with the issue.

Some of the methods you can use are:

soundproof ceiling

When soundproofing a ceiling it’s often recommended to fill any holes and cracks first. The basement ceiling is no different. Gaps in the ceiling will be mostly responsible for allowing sound to enter your basement. Unfortunately, the majority of basement ceilings will often have some gaps and crevices. So, fixing these should be your first goal for maximum basement noise reduction.

Another efficient method for reducing sound transmission is insulation. Since insulation absorbs sound waves, it can help reduce the noise you hear coming from the floor over you or the basement walls. It will also decrease the sounds coming from the basement in the area above or adjacent to it.

Drywall also works well as a soundproofing approach. Though, it will need more efforts than installing basic acoustic panels. It adds additional mass and thickness, which helps to decrease some of the noise that travels through the ceiling or walls. We recommend using sound-deadening drywall and adding Green Glue soundproofing sealant solution to the back of the drywall before installing it for even better results.

 To reduce the amount of noise that goes through your basement ceilings, consider adding carpets or rugs on the floors above it. The thicker the rugs or carpets, the better effects they will have.

Rugs and carpets would provide an extra thin layer to the floor and will absorb some of the sound waves, so you’ll hear less noise through the ceiling and from the basement through the flooring of the areas above it.

Honestly, if you need a proper soundproofing there’s no going around and you will have to put some work and invest in proper soundproofing materials of your basement ceiling. Just adding a carpet or throwing some rugs around won’t really do the job to fully dampen the irritating noises.

Tips for Choosing Proper Material to Soundproof a Basement Ceiling

When it comes to soundproofing a basement, you can’t go wrong by using any of the approaches and  materials we mention here. It all just depends on your goals. Here are some tips to keep in mind while selecting soundproofing materials to soundproof your basement.

soundproof ceiling

The level and Source of the Noise

The level of the noise that has to be kept out or in has a big impact on choosing the materials you will use. Soft, thick foam and wool materials can assist you to block  most of the noise.

Propagation of Noise

As we mentioned above, noise can be both airborne and impact-borne. To choose the ideal soundproofing materials, you must first understand how noise travels from the original source to the target. This is because many soundproof materials are designed for airborne noise transmission, but are basically useless for impact noise and vice versa.

So, before going to a full renovation of your basement and start shopping for soundproofing products, you should really first determine the source, level and type of the noise that’s bothering you.

What Are These Materials Made of?

Some soundproofing materials are more environmentally friendly than others, and this should also be taken into account when selecting a sound insulation material. Some of the products may include combustible substances or hazardous chemicals that are not appropriate for specific uses and mostly for your health.

How To Soundproof Apartment Ceiling?

When you live in an apartment, the sounds of footsteps or voices of your neighbors upstairs can be really annoying. To the point of getting on your nerves and stressing you out additionally. And no body likes stress, right.

So, soon you’ll start planning on how to soundproof your ceiling, especially if your neighbors are not responsive to your polite(or not so polite) requests to be a little bit more quiet. In order to carry out the acoustic insulation of an apartment ceiling, a false ceiling can be suspended from the existing ceiling using anti-vibration lines to limit the transmission of impact noise. The space created is usually filled with a semi-rigid glass wool or mineral wool material that greatly reduces sounds and loud noises.

The efficient solution is to install a self-supporting false ceiling. The fact that it’s basically detached from the existing ceiling (the false ceiling is mounted on the walls), prevents the direct transmission of vibration and noise. Thus the sound insulation and to some extent thermal insulation of your apartment is greatly improved and ceiling acoustic treatment is one of the best ways to soundproof your ceiling.

Thermal Insulation of a Soundproof Ceiling

soundproof ceiling
Construction and renovation of big light spacious empty room with oak floor, walls and ceiling insulated with rock wool, heating radiators under low attic windows and wooden frame for future walls.

Some soundproofing materials have thermal insulation properties that assist in reducing the heat and thermal loses as well. It’s recommended to choose the soundproofing materials that are most suitable for your specific case for cost-effectiveness and increased benefit.

Mineral wool has the advantage of providing thermal and sound insulation. In addition, for better sound insulation, there are plasterboards with reinforced sound insulation and the installation of a false ceiling is also a good soundproofing option.

To identify the best sound insulation suitable for your ceiling, two key factors should be considered:

⦁ First of all, the nature of the noises you want to block(airborne or impact noise)
⦁ the main construction material that makes your ceiling (concrete slab or wood floor).

Also, consider taking these into account:

Ease of Installation and Maintenance

When selecting soundproofing materials, it is best to choose those that are easy to install to save time and efforts while you carry out your insulation project.

Ask yourself:

Why Are You Soundproofing your Ceiling?

To select the appropriate materials, you should first answer yourself why you are soundproofing. If you want to keep sound in, don’t use soundproofing materials like mass-loaded vinyl, which is meant mainly to keep sound out.

Choose A Soundproofing Material That Is Working Best For You

It’s crucial to get the best quality products at the best price possible. You can also request professional advice on which materials are of the highest quality based on your suggested applications before you start your soundproofing project.

Choosing low-quality materials can only cause you inconvenience in the long run.

Conclusion

Obviously, it’s not that easy to soundproof a ceiling. The best ways to soundproof a ceiling without construction are installing a fake ceiling, insulating joists or by adding soundproof acoustic sheets.

They can make quite a difference and turn most types of loud noises decently manageable. Consider what is creating the noise and seek a solution that can properly counters it. Acoustic panels may help for medium level noises, but they will not work for heavy footsteps for example.

Soundproofing your ceiling will require some extra thought and efforts, but if done correctly, it will be a game-changer for achieving the relaxation in your home you always dreamt about.

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